“Only God can judge me.”
– Elizabeth Escalona, 23-year-old Texas mom who beat and glued her 2-year-old daughter’s hands to a wall.
“Holier than thou critics have nothing on Lance Armstrong.”
– de Volkskrant, the Netherlands
“Be Cool. Be Kind. Don’t Judge.”
– A tee shirt on sale at the Ellen Degeneres online store.
Ever notice how often those who lead Godless lives, who engage in immoral behavior, who commit unspeakable acts invoke the words of the Lord to defend their unrepentant sinfulness?
“Judge not lest ye be judged.”
Usually they direct the words at Christ followers, whom they disparage as “judgmental” or “sanctimonious” or “holier than thou.”
Of course, if the Godless, the immoral, the unrepentant actually read the Bible, rather than selected verses, they would understand the context in which the Lord said “Judge not.”
He was talking about hypocritical judgment.
“Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” the Savior admonished.
“Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
What the Lord was saying is that, before those of us who believe ourselves upright presume to judge those we perceive as ungodly, we should examine ourselves.
If I am an adulterer, if I consort with prostitutes, if I frequent strip clubs, if I download pornography on the Internet, who am I to condemn others for their sexual sins?
If I have a gambling problem or a drug habit or a violent temper, how can I chastise those who similarly struggle with demons?
If I forget the Sabbath day, choosing football over church, if I kill, by supporting institutions that support abortion, if I steal, by working for a business that cheats its customers, what standing do I have to criticize those who break other of God’s commandments?
But those who are committed Christ followers, who are not just hearers, but doers of the Word, not only have the moral authority to judge the ungodly, they have a God-ordained imperative to do so.
Indeed, the Psalmist declared, “The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of judgment.” The Apostle Paul echoed that “he who is spiritual judges all things.”
It’s not about condemning sinners to hell. It’s about calling them to repentance, so that their eternal souls are not cast into the lake of fire of which the Bible warns.
It’s not about hating on transgressors, for we are, every one of us, sinners, who fall short of the glory of the Lord.
It’s about hating the sin.
So Christ followers do the will of God when they call out those who brazenly flout His law; who unabashedly and unrepentantly persist in their sins.
The unsaved may acknowledge God. They may even quote the Lord. But that matters not.
So they believe in the Father and the Son. That’s well and good. “Even the demons believe,” the Bible notes, “and tremble!”